In the Dursleys’ Wine Cellar

Our youngest is not a “bed” guy. For years, he slept on the floor in his brothers’ rooms, dragging sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and his book down the hall every night.

With the older two entering teen-dom, however, their patience eventually dried up. So, he set up camp on the floor in his own room right next to his bed. It took us a few months of cajoling to realize he is afraid of falling out of bed. So, we bought a queen-size mattress and put it on the floor (no bedsprings) with new super soft, red fleece sheets.

It worked. For months, he climbed into bed every night, then spent ten minutes methodically setting up shop. Large stuffed bear and pillows along the non-wall side. Seven foxes snuggled against Big Bear in order of whose night of the week it was to sleep closest to him. “Blue Blanky” as first blanket, because it’s his favorite, then the others on top.

But something snapped.

He realized that if he pulls the mattress away from the wall, he can set up a bed back there… on the floor.

The ten-minute bedtime process got moved.

Then two nights ago, when he was feeling sorry for himself, it moved again…

…to the closet.

“I want to hide from the world!”

Big Bear, Blue Blanky, pillow, foxes, flashlight, book all in the smallest possible place to sleep. Shirts hanging just above him.

“Like Harry Potter’s bed at the Dursleys’,” I said, thinking that would discourage him. But by Night #2, it was his happy place.

Harry had to sleep in the wine cellar. Remember? It was under the stairs.”

As if that made all the difference.

And in all my years of reading Harry Potter books, I never pictured the Durselys drinking wine.

A Line of Foxes in Bed

Our nine-year-old collects small stuffed foxes. The fascination began in first grade when he was struggling with controlling his emotions at school, and after reading a book about a fox, we explained that the reason the fox survived was because he never let his anger get the best of him. He out-smarted everyone else by staying cool and calm. “Be the fox,” we would say each morning before school. And with that, he began bringing a stuffed fox to school. If things went awry, the teacher knew to send him to his backpack to snuggle with Foxy until he felt better.

Two years and fifteen small foxes later, I went to tuck him into bed, where seven foxes sat in line along his pillow (a few more on the bedside table).

“They’re in order of the day of the week that I snuggle with them.”

He pulled Sunday’s fox to his chest and curled up under the covers, the other foxes lightly touching his back, patiently waiting for their night in a little boy’s embrace.